He is the king of a rain-country, rich
but sterile, nothing but an old wolf’s itch,
one who escapes his tutor’s monologues,
and kills the day in boredom with his clubs;
nothing cheers him, golf, Fox News, McDonald’s,
his people dying by the balcony;
the bawdry of the sycophantic staff
no longer gets him through a single night;
his bed of fleur-de-lys becomes a sodden tomb;
even the lady of the court, for whom
even this king is bountiful, cannot put on
shameful enough dresses for this grotesque;
the weasel who makes his gold cannot invent
sleights of hand to obscure the poisoned element;
even with fiddles and fires, Rome’s legacy,
our tyrants’ solace in senility,
he cannot warm up his bloated corpse, whose glaze
is nuclear orange ooze, not skin.

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